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JohnS

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  1. ‘Dances at a Gathering’, with ‘no stories, plot or roles’, allows for endless possible narratives and moods - a favourite ballet and utterly exquisite.
  2. A shame it’s not prescribed by the GP. But I hear walking is sometimes prescribed and you never know what might be possible in the future.
  3. I’m very sorry to hear of your pain Anna C and it’s humbling to read of your experience of Saturday’s matinee. I’ll always remember my wife finding relief from her sciatica, which could be so debilitating, when seeing Yasmine Naghdi’s and Matthew Ball’s Romeo and Juliet debut. She found such performances transcended pain and were indeed life enhancing. With the Royal Ballet in such good form, I do hope you’ll find future performances similarly uplifting and reduce the need for such concentration on pain management.
  4. Would be great but seems at odds with the Health Secretary’s references to the possibility of 100,000 new cases a day.
  5. Agreed. One of the problems is that we’re a very long way short of ‘all’ doing these things, with vaccination levels creeping up very slowly in the UK and many comparable countries having much higher vaccination rates despite a slower start. The Government has chosen to leave mask wearing etc as a matter of choice. I think the laissez faire approach makes it extremely difficult for arts venues, travel operators and shops (in England) to do much more than exhort audiences and customers to follow reasonable requests. The Government might reintroduce a requirement for mask wearing etc at some stage but its track record is not good as regards taking timely action. But until there’s a requirement, I’m afraid I can’t see mask wearing becoming standard practice. More generally I think the concerns about non mask wearing are not simply about an individual’s risk of getting Covid. It’s whether the NHS can cope with extraordinary demands being placed on it from Covid and provide the full range of other services where we see spiralling waiting lists and horrendous case studies of delayed treatment and massive pressure on front line staff.
  6. Double Romeo & Juliet on Saturday and one of those special days as Jenny Taylor eloquently highlights. I was very keen to see both performance having heard so much about the Kaneko/Bracewell earlier performances, including the General Rehearsal, and seeing the opening night with Hayward/Corrales thinking there’d probably be a little more in a second performance. I was very taken with Will Bracewell’s Romeo and agree with the lavish praise in a number of lists. I also very much enjoyed Cesar Corrales highly charged Romeo. His fight with Matthew Ball’s Tybalt is astonishing and I’m sure there’s always a collective sigh of relief that Corrales and Ball aren’t injured. I thought Corrales stronger last night than opening night and I do think the entire cast very well matched making for a fabulous ensemble. I found both Juliets exquisite and was delighted that Bloomsbury Flowers marked their performances in their unique way, hopefully another step taken on the return to more familiar ways. Romeo and Juliet is such a wonderful production with so much going on and always new things that catch the eye (Benvolio’s returning of the snatched bouquet). And so good to see Joseph Sissens and James Hay - why doesn’t Benvolio get a solo curtain call? Here’s hoping next run we’ll see both of them dance Romeo. The production demands a huge, fully committed cast, with everyone playing their part. And, memorably, that’s what we had twice yesterday. I couldn’t help but smile when having supper between the performances to see Matthew Ball securing his bicycle opposite the restaurant thinking in a couple of hours he’ll be the repellent Bullingdon Club Tybalt. And having finished supper I managed to have a few words with Fumi Kaneko in Floral Street, still chatting to audience members and posing for photos.
  7. Woke up to the very sad news. So many wonderful evenings at ROH & concert halls: unforgettable Meistersinger, Don Carlo, Jenufa, Mahler and (belatedly for me) Bruckner. The BBC only recently repeated ‘Bernard Haitink, The Enigmatic Maestro’ but I do hope there’s a further repeat & a full tribute to such a truly great conductor & humanitarian.
  8. Very pleased to see this and thought it complements Rob’s fabulous photos: https://www.instagram.com/tv/CVOq-zio5rz/?utm_medium=copy_link
  9. I found Dowler’s review distinctly odd, not helped by his confusing Inferno and Purgatorio: “Tacita Dean’s designs are striking. Purgatorio is the strongest with a stage-wide panel depicting inverted mountains in negative evoking the bleak coldness of Dante’s Hell.” He also seemed to blame McGregor for the time imbalance between the 3 Acts when the length of each Act I’d have thought is more down to Adès. Or is he suggesting that McGregor should move to Purgatorio before the end of Adès’s Inferno score? That would then perhaps justify his barb that: “Fatally, McGregor’s choreography pays little attention to what is coming from the pit.”
  10. Very pleased to see The Dante Project Friday evening with the Ed Watson cast and Saturday’s matinee with Federico Bonelli’s cast. In seeing it twice I am more impressed with the unity of the piece. On Friday night I found Act 1 a tour de force; this afternoon I found Acts 2 and 3 more compelling. I hadn’t particularly liked the chanting in Act 2 on Friday but it seemed much more evocative second time round. Similarly the creative team had set a very high bar for expectations for Act 3 but on first viewing, I found the boxed film above the set distracting (as bridiem has said). This afternoon I thought the film better although at times the lighting for the stage seems at odds with the colours in the film. It works better where stage lighting and film are complementary and I think when that happens it is very effective. I thought the ending second time really does build and I can appreciate the comparison with the closing pages of Parsifal. I’m not sure if Nogoat might have mixed the ending of Act 1 with that of Act 3 from the Insight. Act 1 has the upward pointing arrow leading to the mountains, interesting in heralding Act 2 but not the bold, impressive moment Nogoat was expecting. I’m quite sure the creative team were extolling the ending of Act 3 and the effect it had on the orchestra/Dante team when first rehearsed. As regards the dancers, I thought the Ed Watson cast stupendous but Olivia Crowley made for a truly malevolent Devil. Fumi Kaneko doesn’t project that festering evil but I must say was wonderful as Beatrice. I liked McGreggor’s use of the three Dantes/Beatrices which gave Act 2 a welcome narrative. There’s only so much penitential dirge that I want to see/hear, particularly when the dirge is recorded and I think too removed from musical key. As I said I found Act 1 on Friday scintillating but I was not as taken with it this afternoon, in part because I had a better appreciation of the other Acts. But I’m not sure that McGregor’s hell is as gruesome as Dante’s - dancers for ever trapped dancing might be some people’s idea of paradise. And the Devil has the best tunes. I do agree with the comments about some of the lighting, particular in Acts 1 and 3. I was in Orchestral Stalls side H but it was really only at the curtain calls that I could be sure who was dancing. Having seen a couple of performances and found The Dante Project growing on me the second time, I’ll be very keen to see the live stream and am really pleased to have a ticket for Ed Watson’s final performance.
  11. Good to see that there’s some naming of characters/dancers on the Cast Sheet, much better than for Woolf Works. I assume this is a one off Cast Sheet as there’s a lot of material about First Night Celebration donors. I hope that tomorrow and for other performances there’s a brief synopsis. I’m looking forward very much to Friday evening/Saturday matinee. The Insight and pre-performance publicity have certainly whetted my appetite. High expectations indeed if Paradiso is to evoke comparisons with the closing pages of Parsifal.
  12. Again many thanks all for the posts and RobS for his fabulous photos. With so many casts I’ve chosen to see a later Naghdi/Ball performance as their matinee debut, some years ago now, was so memorable. As a postscript to mask wearing, when completing my Romeo & Juliet feedback, I mentioned the poor compliance with what I thought were well judged announcements and the example set by ROH staff and the orchestra. I received a very full reply from Customer Services which included the following: “We have now strengthened our messaging on this even further with recorded requests from Maestro Pappano from the Royal Opera Company and Kevin O’Hare from The Royal Ballet for our audience to keep wearing masks when attending.” Here’s hoping Tony Pappano and Kevin O’Hare achieve significant improvements in compliance. I should say that I don’t know if these are auditorium announcements just before lights out at the start of each act or more general announcements before audiences take their seats. I hope it’s the former as on reflection I rather think I may have heard something when in the foyer before the opening night performance but wasn’t paying much attention.
  13. Many thanks Richard and apologies if I’ve got people’s hopes up. I thought I’d seen a reference to cameras being at the General Rehearsal as well as today’s performance so assumed the cameras were actually filming.
  14. Many thanks all for the reports and photos. I’d meant to say how good it is seeing flowers once again presented on stage. I can’t recall if there’s been an explanation for cameras filming the performance - is it Japanese television? Looking forward even more so to 23 October and double Romeo & Juliet - this cast and the first night’s cast.
  15. I see from Instagram Joseph Sissens has tonsillitis. I do hope he recovers quickly and look forward immensely to seeing this cast on 23 October.
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